It’s 4 o’clock in the morning on a Sunday. Spoiled by a lingering summer, it’s necessary to think some motivating words to pull away from the warm covers and land my feet inside my camouflage-print slippers. I grab my cozy fleece-lined bathrobe and cat-eyed glasses and sneak passed my daughters’ rooms to begin the descent down the stairs to my husband’s office on our home’s ground floor. On my way down the first steps, a new sensation greets me— a chilly November morning. And, coming from inside my 9 year old’s room— slow cooing noises from our two infant guinea pigs. The sounds of their little claws scratching the hay tunnel inside their cage remind me that motherhood now extends to new family pets. I check their water supply and run the upcoming breakfast menu through my mind— butter and romaine lettuces; sliced green peppers and carrot sticks.
It’s 4:05 a.m. now… a great day to be up extra early. Today is the full dress rehearsal for Tuesday, November 6th, Midterm Election night, which will be my first time participating with Fox News Channel’s TV coverage of elections. Exciting doesn’t even begin to describe this time for me. I’m glad this midterm election is my first because so many unforeseen and never before seen forces are in play. If I could just be wonky for a moment: there are 10 states that President Donald Trump won in 2016 where Democratic Senators are trying to hold onto their jobs. Places likes Indiana, North Dakota, Missouri are seeing a red road block to their once-dreamed about blue wave. And, then there’s a Senator, who is the only Republican incumbent Senator in a state Hillary Clinton won. We call these the hotly contested Senate races that could help decide the balance of power in that chamber on Capitol Hill. But, I have my own balance of power happening. After all, this is my extreme prep time for election night. It must be pre-dawn, kid-free and fast-paced.
The seeds were planted for a successful morning, at 7 p.m. last evening, when I announced to the household that the next few days would be tightly scripted— on the laundry room glass dry erase board. My husband quickly reminded me of some immovable objects on the Sunday schedule: My 11 year old’s weather makeup soccer game; a birthday party for a classmate of our younger daughter and the cupcake fundraiser later in the day, after gymnastics practice. Good Lord. IT’S PRE-GAME FOR MOM’S MIDTERM ELECTION NIGHT! I erased the glass to begin again with some travel notes for getting everyone where their needed to be. That’s when the plan of an “extra early start for mom” came into play. Visually laying out important days is a critical hack for me. Digital devices are fine but, we all must be able to see the Mission Plan. Meals for the humans and the guinea pigs are carefully spelled out. Clothes for different activities are dictated, including hairstyles. Don’t even ask… just flow with me here.
My military upbringing helps me at every turn to build and execute a successful Mission Plan. Yes, I’m a BRAT— Army. And, it’s an excellent thing. Born, Raised and Transferred. We moved every year or two for most of my life before I left home to go to college. It taught me to be nimble, pack fast and recruit the right team to win! My husband, Tony, is my co-General. And, our most important tools are our values. More to come on that…
It’s now 6:00 a.m. I’m making notes on the President’s latest approval rating, polling among contentious U.S. House seats and more. This quiet study time is very productive. In about an hour the house will begin to come alive even on a Sunday. Good! They can help me with flash card quizzing to make sure I have all the lawmakers’ details down pat. All U.S. House seats— 435— will be contested. I anchor ten hours of live TV per week and sometimes more when there is big breaking news. But, there really is no such thing as being over prepared for Election Night.
It’s 7:00 a.m. T-minus 3 hours and counting. Since this is an extra day to my normal workflow, there are some additives on the glass erase wall: washing and drying the laundry to include both colors of soccer uniforms for Bella; a phone call to Dallas to check on Dad (he’s lonely these days since Mom passed in 2016); making parfaits for the kids and Tony; that guinea pig breakfast you already know about; texting and maybe a call with my executive assistant to review support items I’ll need at work. We’ll discuss coordinating with the makeup and hair team to make sure they are in green room, which correlates with the Election newsroom position I’ll occupy for my Race Tracker Live Hits throughout the night.
It hits me about half way through the parfait making, that I will be away from the girls a lot between now and Wednesday morning. Tuesday night could be a very late one, depending on the close-calls expected in many races. My husband and I plan for these big moments in our careers where we are apart from each other and the girls. Being together is very important. We want our values imparted on our little ones, more than those of the world. We allow limited use of iPhones, tablets and TV viewing… none during the school week unless a device is needed for a homework assignment. And, TV viewing only on the weekends. Eye contact and quality time are critical to the Mission Plan of us as busy parents. We want our children to feel like they can tell us anything and for that we must be available and focused on them.
If I’m going to chase my dreams, it's necessary to believe in what I’m doing. This Election may turn out to be the most expensive Midterm (an estimated $5 Billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics) and the most participated in a very long time. Voter intensity is expected to be fierce on both sides of the political aisle. I hope that holds true and people vote like never before in a Midterm. Just the thought of that makes me thrilled to be part of such an important night of coverage for Fox News Channel. This is the height of integrating my home life balancing act with my work life goals!
Epilogue: It’s high noon on the East Coast. I’ve been at Fox News Headquarters at the corner of the Avenue of the Americas and 48th Street long enough to don my on-camera glam and wardrobe. It’s rehearsal show time. From practicing race calls to running down the list of the expected tightest “too close to call” contests… our entire Election Night team is in our New York City studios. The newly famed FOX Square is ready to host what has grown to be a hot place to be on Election Night. People can watch all the action on giant monitors. This year they will also be treated to a fun mini campus of news, politics and merch! See ya Tuesday night!